👉 Friendly reminder… Your week is what you make of it. It doesn’t matter what you’ve encountered this past week, you can get something from everything if you have the right mindset. Just look at me. I’ve felt fatigued and exhausted most of the week.
As we look to another week of creating, I hope you’ve been finding plenty of time to plan, work, and recreate.
For me, this past week was more “slow and steady” than “grinding and hustling,” but as result, I feel much better, and last night, unbelievably, I slept nearly 10 hours!
So, here is a more clear-headed, less frantic #StrategySunday breakdown.
Here is what I went over during this planning session:
I went over my content duties for the week. I added Instagram into the mix because I started making and scheduling posts based on my high performing tweets (I found it quick and easy to do).
I reviewed the status of current projects. I haven’t wrapped up anything yet, but I am making progress.
I went over my admin duties for the week. Nothing out of the ordinary here.
I made note of the fact that I haven’t made much progress with product development this past week. Some adjustments may be required.
I reviewed the status of my musical projects. I continue to make slow progress.
I went over my YearSheet for Music Entrepreneur HQ, made note of things that have been implemented, those that have yet to be, and new items that need to be addressed.
Was there anything that came out of this week’s reflection and planning session?
Although not a major realization, I came to see that Saturday, by default, is newsletter day. That makes it easier for me to optimize my Weekflow, and plan accordingly. And best to my ability, I would like to keep Saturday open for newsletters only. No additional work!
I have examined Music Entrepreneur HQ using Google Search Console as well as Ahrefs and I know for a fact that the site contains many errors. I guess it’s to be expected, given that the site is an outgrowth of past projects, I’ve deleted and redirected old posts, discontinued support for old projects and products, and changed direction multiple times. At this point, it’s getting to be an aged domain. The site’s traffic is the worst it’s been in a while. And while I do feel the pandemic is a factor, it also made me want to take a closer look at the previously mentioned errors. Maybe if I resolve those, I can drive the traffic up again. And maybe I need that kind of traffic to be able to grow at the pace I want to.
Although I have been getting back into exercising more, I don’t have a clearly defined routine. As I begin to track my steps again, it has occurred to me that the easiest way to get back into good habits is to start by developing just one. And that would be walking 8,000 steps per day. I might have to perform a lot of side steps at home to get to that point daily (besides going on a daily walk/hike), but if I get that habit nailed, adding another wouldn’t prove that difficult. It would take no time at all to knock out 60 squats, for example (though I’m not saying it wouldn’t be painful). Start with one thing, add another as I master it. It’s exactly what I’ve been doing with my publishing and marketing efforts.
I seem to do a better job of tracking my to-do list and projects on my iPad than I do on my yellow legal pad. Is it finally time I went fully electronic with my to-do list? It might just be…
Were there any ideas that came out of this week’s session?
Much of the content I create each week is based on questions or conversations I’ve had. But I was recently reminded that I could also be writing about my experiments (such as The Renegade Musician) and how they go. I was planning to do this anyway but I’m realizing that this might be a richer area for exploration than originally anticipated.
I started turning my highest performing tweets into Instagram posts. If I do this once per month, I will always have something to fill my Instagram feed with, and it doesn’t take much time at all. Whether this leads to any results remains to be seen. But it could be just one more experiment I eventually report on.
Thanks for joining me, champ!
If you need more inspiration, refer to yesterday’s weekly digest.
That’s it for this week’s #StrategySunday. Wishing you the best of weeks!
Increasingly, I find myself reflecting on what works.
To some extent, this will always be individual. Because you may be good at things I’m not, and I may be good at things you’re not. But your best work will always stem from your genius zone.
In a broader sense, though, the clues of success are all around us. It’s just a matter of whether we’re paying attention.
I am beginning to see those clues more clearly each day.
Still, seeking council and advice has been a strong focus for me this year. I don’t think I’m looking for anything earth shattering. I’m just looking for the little tweaks, the little pivots that are going to create results.
Otherwise, you die on the altar of the starving artist, and you were not destined for martyrdom.
When something doesn’t work, you iterate and try again.
Unless you’re starting from scratch, the clues of greatness are also reflected in your own journey. You’ve done things that have worked, and those that haven’t. And inevitably, 20% of what you’ve done to this point has generated 80% of the results.
The constant grind rarely provides a reprieve. It doesn’t give you time enough to think and reflect on what has worked. So, you keep hustling and grinding, without giving any thought to what it might look like to focus and double down on the effective work you do.
Which is why we need time to think and reflect. Though we’ve all been gifted with intuition, and we may even know what we need to do next, this doesn’t mean we will instantly abandon the familiar for the uncomfortable.
There’s more to it than just knowing. It’s about clarity of vision – the willingness to endure the pain of cocooning up, at least temporarily, in preparation of the moment you emerge as the fire-breathing, polymathic pterodactyl you are.
The challenge is that many of us have a hard time identifying what that 20% is. So, we just keep giving 100% effort, even when we mentally understand that only 20% of what we’re doing is making a significant difference to our creative projects, communities, or businesses.
I recently stumbled on a simple diagnostic (I’m calling it the “Effectiveness Diagnostic”) that helped me get clear on my 20%. Want to know how it works? Read on!
I could expound on that thought (as I have done elsewhere), but if I were to bottom line it, it’s that productivity is just getting things done, while effectiveness is getting the right things done.
So, let’s identify the right things.
Prepare two blank pieces of paper (or create a new note on your iPad, as I like to do).
On the first piece of paper, write down everything you are currently doing. Yes, everything. Do this first.
Also consider things you’ve done in the past (IMPORTANT), especially things that worked for you. For example, if you used to guest post on relevant industry blogs, and that drove a lot of traffic to your website, that would be something to add to your sheet.
On the second piece of paper, create three sections, labeled “low effectiveness,” “medium effectiveness,” and “high effectiveness.” You don’t need to split your sheet into three equal parts. Just make sure there’s enough room for each.
Now, because it can be hard to think in black and white terms, you may find it beneficial to add one or two other sections to your sheet – “low-medium effectiveness,” and “medium-high effectiveness.” It’s up to you. If there are certain things you do that you have trouble assigning to low, medium, or high, these extra “in between” labels can help.
Look over your first sheet and categorize the various tasks, activities, and projects you’ve written down.
Put them into their appropriate category – low effectiveness, medium effectiveness, and high effectiveness. Be as ruthless and detached as possible.
Note: This will require some deep thinking on your part. So, take your time.
As I was doing this, I realized very quickly that most activities fell under “low effectiveness,” some went under “medium effectiveness,” and only a few made it into “high effectiveness.”
If more than 20% of your tasks made it into “high effectiveness,” you’re either lying to yourself, or you’re being a little too generous.
I ended up with six items under “high effectiveness,” past efforts considered. If you end up with more than three to seven items here, something is probably off. Consider reevaluating.
You’ve just applied the 80/20 principle to your work. Now you have a much better understanding of the things that make a difference in your projects, community, or business, as well as the things that just take up time and do not lead to desired results.
What can you do with this information?
Well, I’m a bit of an operations nerd, so my suggestion would be to eliminate, automate, or delegate.
Basically, STOP doing the things that don’t yield results.
AUTOMATE the things that still need to be done but can be done using a SaaS app or machine.
And DELEGATE the things that still need to be done, aren’t an effective use of your time, and require a human touch.
Double down on the highly effective 20% that leads to the outcomes you’re looking to create.
I found this simple diagnostic to be of immense value.
There are certain commitments I’ve made (such as publishing daily) that I will be keeping for at least a year, regardless of effectiveness.
Meetings and conversations are a treasure trove of useful information and inspiration just waiting to be captured.
You might hear about a book or resource that intrigues you and want to look up later.
You might hear a sentence that could be turned into a poem, blog post, book, or a song.
Action items may come up in conversation, and if you don’t write them down, you may forget them.
You may have spur of the moment inspiration that needs to be captured then and there.
And so on.
I’m not saying every conversation or meeting has got to be productive. I’m just saying every conversation or meeting is an opportunity, and the opportunity is to listen for inspiration.
Document Your Journey
Documenting your journey is also something you can do with a blog, as it gives you the opportunity to let others in on what you’re doing.
Either way, writing down your thoughts, ideas, feelings, and so on, can have more long-term value than you even realize.
First, writing is known to help you organize your thoughts. Many people try to organize their thoughts first, and then write. I suggest going about it the other way. This is not a term paper. Practice will make you better. Just get started and don’t worry about today’s journal entry or blog post.
Third, the opposite is also true – you can also journal away emotional baggage. Oftentimes we feel stuck, not because of present circumstances, but because we think the past will just keep repeating itself in our lives. Try on the idea that this is within you, not outside of you, and see if you can journal it away.
Fourth, you can return to your journal entries later and scan them for memories, thoughts, ideas, action items, and anything else you’ve taken down. Many songwriters and poets like to begin with a great title, and you just never know where a great title might be hidden.
Finally, your journey can also help and inspire others.
There are many ways to journal, and more benefits than I can count. So, the above should not be considered comprehensive.
The point is to get started and stay started. Don’t worry about trying to get it right or being perfect. That’s not the point.
Your journal is only valuable or helpful to you to the extent that you use it. So, start using it!
How do you use your journal? What’s the greatest value you’ve derived from it?
Let me know in the comments.
Shh… Don’t tell anyone. Only the cool kids are talking about it.